For those who like their feel-good Christmas stories smothered in mustard and sauerkraut, there's still time to swing by Continental Square this holiday season.
There you'll likely find Darren Borodin, bouncing around behind a table full of plastic cups and manning a metal food cart full of hot dogs with all the fixins. The cart features a triple-sink and a colorful umbrella.
It's sold as the "Dream Maker" model.
A bit of that dream came into question recently, with word that two vendors would compete for the cart space on the square. Borodin held the spot in 2012. But Jennifer Philippe, a Spring Garden Township resident who makes crepes, submitted an application, too. She studied in France and cooks at home with her kids.
The city only allows one vendor on the square -- that's the rule -- and chooses via a lottery. Or that was the plan, anyway.
But last week the two vendors met.
And "knowing Darren's story brought everything home for me," Philippe said via email.
Borodin was willing to share a little more about that table full of fresh-squeezed lemonade, explaining better what's behind his metal cart.
Family, he said.
Borodin is the single father of three children, including 13-year-old Madyson, who took her father's hand a year ago this month during the last cart-vendor lottery. She held the ticket, Borodin said. For luck.
Then his family won the lottery. Borodin, who's worked for two decades in the food-service industry, said that's brought a year of more regular hours. No dinner rush at the kids' bedtimes, he said, no slogging a mop while they sleep at home. He's done after the lunch rush.
He's there in the morning, Borodin said, to put 7-year-old Isaiah on the bus.
"That's my little man," he explained.
Philippe said this week she called the city, withdrawing her name. She couldn't stand the thought of hurting those kids. With the deadline for application past, that leaves only Borodin.
Tamika Rascoe, the city health officer, said on Thursday there will be no lottery. The spot is Borodin's again.
Yet the bigger question centers on the system, Philippe said. City officials have said the rules are in place to protect owners' brick-and-mortar businesses downtown. Cart vendors can't just sweep in, siphon off business and roll away without paying taxes.
But "I have received a lot of feedback from people, consumers anyway, showing that they want options," she said.
Philippe and Borodin each said they plan to lobby city officials to open up the process. But for this year, downtown variety will have to wait.
Philippe will sell a little through Central Market, she said. Borodin will be home before school lets out.
And both will say York's grand square can be defined, sometimes, by what you don't see.